Upcoming Events

October 21-22: Hard Times for Truth

Workshop and Theatre Event

Celebrating the Raven Foundation’s 10th Anniversary

Saturday, October 21

Crown Center Lobby, Loyola Lake Shore Campus

Free Workshop – 1-5 p.m.

Doors open at 12:45 p.m.

Hard Times for Truth

In these hard times for truth, Raven Board member Andrew McKenna and Raven Award Winner Heidi Stillman examine Charles Dickens’ novel, Hard Times, and the crisis of difference between truth, facts, and lies.

Refreshment break

Hot Times for Scandal

When truth falls on hard times, scandal finds fertile ground. Vanessa Avery and Stephen McKenna apply the mimetic insight about desire, rivalry and violent doubles to escalating conflicts in the workplace, politics, and the media.

Wine and cheese reception at 5:00 p.m.

Download an event flyer.

Livestreaming of this event will begin at 1:00 p.m. Central Time.

The Crown Center is building number 11 on the university map.

Sunday, October 22, 2:00 p.m.

Hard Times at Lookinglass Theatre, adapted and directed by Heidi Stillman

Join Raven Foundation staff, board members and Raven Award winners for this matinee performance of Hard Times, Heidi Stillman’s award-winning, circus-infused adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. Following the performance, Heidi and Andrew McKenna will lead a post-show discussion with the audience.

Tickets will be available for purchase soon from the Lookingglass Theatre box office. Lookingglass Theatre is located at 821 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Directions, parking and dining information are available.

In this episode of the RavenCast called “Hard Times (for Truth)”, Suzanne Ross and Adam Ericksen discuss the mimetic themes in Dicken’s novel.

In this episode of the RavenCast called “Political Rhetoric and Mimetic Trust”, Stephen McKenna previews his workshop.

They say that truth is the first victim of war; it often falls victim to ideological polemics as well, where each side is scandalized by its adversary’s discourse and responds in kind. Scandal is a mimetic trap, ensnaring its beholders in shrill denunciations of the violence they reprove. René Girard’s ideas show how mimetic rivalry reduces relations to a zero/sum contest of winners and losers, between whom there is no objectivity but violence itself. –Andrew McKenna

RSVP and Ticket Information

The Saturday workshop is free, including the refreshment break and reception following the workshop. An RSVP is greatly appreciated. Please reply via email. Directions and parking information for the Loyola Lake Shore campus are just a click away.

Tickets for the Sunday matinee performance of Hard Times can be purchased from the Lookingglass Theatre box office. Lookingglass Theatre is located at 821 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Directions, parking and dining information are available.

Speaker Bios

Andrew McKenna
Dr. Andrew J. McKenna, emeritus professor of French language and literature at Loyola University in Chicago, earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages [French & Spanish] from Johns Hopkins University after receiving his B.A. in French from Holy Cross College. In addition to acting as the host of the French club, he taught courses in French Literature of 17th, 19th, 20th centuries, Stylistics, French culture and civilization, and Masterpieces of European Literature and Comparative Literature (in translation). He now teaches inmates currently incarcerated in the Illinois prison system literature and theology.

For the decade between 1996 and 2006, he was the Editor-in-Chief of Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture, 1996-2006. Andrew is the author of Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida, and Deconstruction.


Heidi Stillman
Playwright, actress, Jeff Award winning director (Hard Times) and founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. The current Artistic Director, Heidi served previously as Artistic Director of New Work at Lookingglass and won the Raven Award for her adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. She has both written and directed at Lookingglass: Cascabel (with Tony Hernandez and Rick Bayless,) The North China Lover, Hephaestus (with Tony Hernandez), The Brothers Karamazov (2009 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment), Hard Times (five Jeff Awards; also produced at Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia), and The Master and Margarita (Jeff Nominated). Directing work with Lookingglass includes: Death TaxBengal Tiger at the Baghdad ZooTrustThe Wooden Breeks, and Hillbilly Antigone. Additional writing credits with Lookingglass include: The Last Act of Lilka Kadison with Nicola Behrman, David Kersnar, Abbie Phillips and Andrew White, The Old Curiosity Shop with Laura Eason and Raymond Fox (Jeff Award for New Adaptation), and The Baron in the Trees with Lawrence E. DiStasi (Jeff Nominated).


Vanessa Avery
 Vanessa Avery holds her PhD from the University of Exeter, Masters degrees from Yale Divinity School and King’s College London, and a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University.  Her academic focus has been religious studies with specializations in Hebrew Bible, interfaith dialogue, and non-violence.  Her academics are married to her consulting work with academic and healthcare organizations with whom she partners to create inclusive, diverse, and thriving cultures.  Vanessa is currently the Interfaith Resident at Denison University where she is designing the Sacred Spaces initiative to build education and awareness of religious diversity around campus and across the Greater Columbus area.


Stephen McKenna

Stephen McKenna is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Media & Communication Studies and a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America. He is the author of the book Adam Smith: The Rhetoric of Propriety and co-editor of World’s Greatest Speeches. Dr. McKenna has published articles on topics such as Adam Smith, the rhetoric of advertising, and the U.S. presidential rhetoric. He is the local organizer of the next annual meeting of The Colloquium on Violence and Religion, to be held in Washington, DC, July 11-14, 2018.